I was born an artist. When I was nine years old, I felt that I had to do art. We lived close to the Nile River, and my first painting was a small landscape. I still have it.
Every year, the school would give us clay and watercolors. When the other children went outside to play soccer, I would stay in the art room and make clay animals and paint them. At home, my grandmother liked to see me do art so she helped me a lot. If I needed materials, she would help me get them.
When I was about 17, the people in my neighborhood often asked me to paint their portraits. Everybody knew I was an artist. By then I was using pencils. I love pencils! They give me everything – they are like life. When I use pencils, it’s easy for my feelings and ideas to get from my mind and heart to my fingers. The person who made the first pencil must have been a happy guy because he made something so good for all artists.
I have traveled a lot in West Africa and Europe. I got the money by selling my art. I met a lot of artists and learned many things. I traveled to Italy and lived in Rome for one year where I started to understand classical art, like the art of Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci.
I still feel art inside me. I try to do good art and to find my own style. I think I’ve got it now after a long way. I want to enjoy my art and I do. I enjoy doing it. I feel the beauty around me – color, shadow, people and light. From the beauty, I get ideas for my art.
Art is something I cannot live without. If I couldn’t do art, I feel I would die. Art is my life.